Average monthly rent in Baltimore City: $1,350
Average rents in the city -- counting everything, from apartments to rowhouses -- have risen about 9 percent this year, according to Cazoodle, a site that gathers rental listings from across the Internet.
That's pushed the average monthly rent to just over $1,350 in September, Cazoodle says. (The median rent -- the point at which half the listings are pricier and half are cheaper -- was $1,200 last month, up 8 percent.)
It's another way of looking at what's happening in the rental market, which -- like the housing market -- can be measured in a variety of ways.
Delta Associates, which tracks newer apartment complexes with amenities, puts the average at $1,700 in the city (higher than in the Baltimore suburbs as a whole). That's the "effective" cost, after concessions such as a month's free rent are factored in.
The downside of Delta's calculation, if you're interested in the broad rental market, is that it's just apartments and specifically just the nicer ones -- the so-called "Class A." In the city, these are the complexes downtown and in neighborhoods near the Inner Harbor.
On the flip side, though, Delta accounts for concessions and calculates rent growth based on changes in the same units over time, so its year-over-year figures aren't skewed upward when a new complex opens. Delta shows a 5.5 percent growth in rent in the city during the summer, compared with a year earlier.
So -- like the housing market -- you can probably get a better grasp of the rental market by looking at a variety of figures. Triangulating for the big picture.
Here are the changes Cazoodle is seeing in rents by number of bedrooms and apartment vs. house:
|Type||Average||Jan.-Sept. '11 vs Jan.-Sept. '10|
Both the median and average rent dropped significantly among three-bedroom listings, but the average actually fell below the figure for two-bedroom properties. No idea if that's a reflection of too much supply or just very different sorts of three-bedrooms this year vs. last year.
Also, properties advertised as "houses" are listed for a bit less in rent than those advertised as "apartments." Pete from Highlandtown got at just that issue in a recent comment, suggesting that the best rental bang for the buck isn't an apartment if you're looking in the city:
"Its been my experience that Baltimore is one of the few places where houses rent cheaper then apartments," he wrote.
Part of the issue these days is that the financial crisis put the brakes on apartment construction. That's pushing rents up now because apartments that otherwise would have been built over the past few years weren't.
But construction is picking up in the region, said Grant Montgomery, a vice president with Delta Associates. Based on building plans and the current economic climate, he thinks the landlord's market will shift to a renter's market in about two years as supply catches up with and overtakes demand.
"That will vary from submarket to submarket," he said. But "invariably the market will overbuild. That’s what happens in every cycle, and then it corrects itself."